Serena Williams fined $10,000; new investigation opened

Serena Williams fined $10,000; new investigation opened

A line judge leaves her chair to report an argument with Serena Williams, left, of the US, during her match against Kim Clijsters. AP

The fine - not quite 3 per cent of the USD 350,000 in prize money Williams earned by reaching the semifinals - is the maximum on-site penalty that can be issued for unsportsmanlike conduct at a Grand Slam tournament.

"The average individual would look at that and say, 'A USD 10,000 fine for what she did? What are you guys, crazy?' The answer is: the process isn't over," tournament director Jim Curley said in an interview with The AP.
Bill Babcock, the top administrator for Grand Slam tournaments, will review what happened Saturday night, when Williams yelled at a linesperson who called a foot fault with the defending champion two points away from losing to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals.
If Babcock determines Williams committed a "major offence," she could be fined all of her prize money from the tournament.
Williams also was docked USD 500 for smashing her racket after the first set of the match. Because she was issued a warning then, her later actions resulted in the loss of a point.

The foot fault resulted in a double-fault, which moved Clijsters one point from victory. Williams then was penalised a point for her outburst; because it happened to come on match point, it ended the semifinal with Clijsters ahead 6-4, 7-5.

Clijsters won the final yesterday by beating Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3.
Babcock did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But Curley said the inquiry probably would include reviewing TV footage, checking additional audio feeds from courtside microphones and interviewing Williams, the linesperson, the chair umpire and possibly spectators.

"What she did was unacceptable. It's unacceptable behavior under any circumstances. When you're on the court, and you are waving your racket toward a linesperson and using profanity, it's just simply unacceptable," Curley said.

"When you look at the tape, it's pretty clear that the way she approached the linesperson, with her racket and in that manner, it was a threatening manner. It certainly was."
The names of linespersons are not disclosed as a matter of practice at the tournament.
He also said the tournament considered - and decided against - preventing Williams and her older sister Venus from participating in the women's doubles final today. Venus put in some work on a U S Open practice court yesterday; Serena wasn't with her.

Serena Williams made an onstage appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York yesterday night, where there was no mention of what happened 24 hours earlier.

She did release a statement through a public relations firm, acknowledging that "in the heat of battle, I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly."
She did not apologise for the outburst, which made the "most viewed" page of YouTube with four different versions that totaled more than half a million clicks as of yesterday night.
After what may be recalled as the most significant foot fault in tennis history, Williams paused, retrieved a ball to serve again and then stopped. She stepped toward the official, screaming, cursing and shaking the ball at her.

"If I could, I would take this ... ball and shove it down your ... throat," Williams said, according to a tennis official who watched a replay Saturday night.
The official also said Williams used the word "kill". The official declined to be identified because the tape was still being reviewed.

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